Current Reports for Western Wisconsin Spring Creeks:
1/30/2020 - Winter season report from John Goplin
WI Early Trout Season
WI opened Jan. 4th for their Early Season Trout Season.
During the warmest time of the day, Midges and small Black Stone flies have been hatching. Best way to tell if the hatch is on, is watch for birds along the bank eating bugs or look on the snow to see bugs crawling out. Depends on the stretch of the river, I've seen some great surface activity. Try to find a deep pool where the trout are schooled up for the winter and has a good riffle feeding the pool (preferably with lots of sun on it). I like to fish a Griffin's Gnat for the dry (traditional tie or parachute size 16-20) or a Zebra Midge for a nymph (size 18-20).
When I'm not fishing the hatch, I like to dead drift a Turkey marabou bead headed Bugger (size 6 - 10......depending on the depth of the pool). Remember to use a long leader to get down deep. Or I'll fish a BH Pink Squirrel nymph (size 12-16) with a BH Zebra Midge (size 18-20) behind it.
If the temperature is cold and the guides are icing up, try a Tenkara rod (no guides and can fish with mittens). I sometimes target these colder days, because of no fishing pressure. Also, it's been easy access to the river with the lack of snow. But once it gets deep, just wade the river for easy access.
Winter fishing tips -
1. Dress in layers and don't forget hand warmers
2. Use rubber sole wading shoes instead of felt (felt absorbs water, freezes, and then crack off the boot)
3. Tenkara rod for the really cold days (no guides to freeze and can fish with mittens)
4. Use a neck type gaiter (Buffs) for added warmth.
5. Mainly fish the slow deep pools and fish slow (try no indicator to get deeper)
6. If possible, rig the rod up at home (I've also gotten my waders on at home on really cold days)